Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 13 / 29 March 2018

Wintertime book season puzzle

Out There

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We do try to keep up with the profusion of review copies that make it to our desk, but we don't always succeed. Below are six newly released books that have piqued our interest, followed by passages from each of them. Match the title to the prose, and win a prize: the satisfaction of a job well done! Answers at column's end, but don't peek.


Here are the sources:

A: "Agnes Martin: Pioneer, Painter, Icon," by Henry Martin (Schaffner)

B: "The Men in My Life: A Memoir of Love and Art in 1950s Manhattan," by Patricia Bosworth (Harper)

C: "The Rest of It: Hustlers, Depression, and Then Some, 1976-1988," by Martin Duberman (Duke)

D: "Sisters in the Life: A History of Out American Lesbian Media-Making," Yvonne Welbon & Alexandra Juhasz, editors (Duke)

E: "What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth: A Memoir of Brotherhood," by Rigoberto Gonzalez (U. of Wisconsin)

F: "Wild Mares: My Lesbian Back-to-the-Land Life," by Dianna Hunter (U. of Minnesota)


Here are the passages:

1. "When we weren't in the Village, we would spend hours necking in Jason's brother's car. Long hours kissing and dry-humping. At first I felt awkward and dissatisfied as he gave me lessons as to how to go down on him. He'd say, 'Lick it like a lollipop,' and I'd hold his swollen penis in my hand and lick it and suck on it until he came in my mouth, and then I would gag because I hated doing that."

2. "Patricia was rumored to be a lesbian. She wore track suits, kept her hair very short, and wore no makeup. But that also described my grandmother, so I wasn't sure how this was evidence of anything."

3. "In 1953 Robert Rauschenberg bought and lovingly erased, stroke by stroke, a drawing by Willem de Kooning. It is difficult not to see in this action a small victory won for Rauschenberg as a queer artist. De Kooning was, at the time, the most emulated, lauded and respected abstract artist in New York."

4. "I was twenty-three, really into magical thinking, and under the sway of the idea that some mysterious force had led me to this place.

"Marea and I introduced ourselves, and I asked, 'What's your horse's name?'

"'White Mare,' she said, seeming relieved to have a reason to look at the mare's neck and tug affectionately on a tuft of mane. 'Her other name is Valkyrie .'

"Of course it was."

5. "Always the diligent historian, I promptly asked Gore [Vidal] how big [Jack] Kerouac 's cock was. 'Average size,' he urbanely replied, not missing a beat. 'But what surprised me was that he was circumcised – the Lowell working class isn't supposed to do that.'

"When I pushed for more details, Gore – with trademark hauteur and no apparent irony – obliged: 'I felt he and I owed it to American Literature to go to bed together.'"

6. "Giving her girls an assignment, she references another movie: 'the one with Jodie [Foster ], and the little dog, and the girl in the hole in the ground.' Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme , 1991): her assistant supplies the title. The joke lies not only in the light reference to a creepy film (protested by the LGBT community at the time of its release for its transphobic depiction of the serial killer) but also in the character's claim to be on a first-name basis with Jodie, a nod to the star's singular status and lesbian fandom."


Here are the answers:

Pencils down. Pretty proud of yourself? Here's the downlow.

1. B; 2. E; 3. A; 4. F; 5. C; 6. D.

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